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The $100 Hour: Cashing in on your writing potential 💰

Not all time is created equal

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Hi there,

If you want to be a prolific writer, finding “the time” to write isn’t your answer. It’s to write during the right time — those moments when thousands of words pour from your psyche. When your ideas feel crystalline and purposeful and you’re getting so much done you feel borderline superhuman.

In my case, the 8 AM to 9 AM slot is gold.

The caffeine is first hitting and my brain is a clean slate. This is a “$100 hour.” But 3:45 to 4:45? I’m useless. I feel scattered, distracted, and depleted by the day’s duties. This is a “$10 hour.”

Everyone has their own $100 hours. The question becomes: How do you find yours?

The good news is you don’t have to “do” anything to get them. Every day, you wake up with a loaded creative wallet — the typical person gets four to five $100 hours.

The bad news is that your money doesn’t last forever (hey, you’ve got to spend it to get anything done).

But there’s such a thing as becoming an efficient spender, and that’s done in two ways. First, you’re conscious of your spending. Second, you earn your money back fast.

1) Being Conscious About Your Spending 💰

What’s the value of a $100 hour? Attention. It’s what allows you to dial in the intensity and get something done in 30 focused minutes instead of four half-assed hours. But certain activities will cost you more than others.

  • Are you writing about something you despise? That’ll cost $65.

  • Do you already feel burnt out? $50 to cover your exhaustion.

  • Is it your first time writing about a subject? Research is mentally consuming ($45).

There are also smaller costs you shouldn’t ignore. You’ll find them in the land of ✨ social media ✨ and instant messaging (emails, Slack, Discord, etc).

  • An Instagram of your ex’s wedding in Italy. $5. 

  • An email from your client about switching deadlines. $9.99

  • A “just one minute” TikTok scroll that morphs into 45 minutes. $27.

Sifting through your algorithm’s chicken feed is one of the fastest ways to spend your cash. Not to mention, social media elicits particularly costly emotions — fear, anger, jealousy, and self-doubt.

The single best way I’ve found to save my money (this sounds smug, don’t hate me) is to spend my $100 hours on writing and client work before going on social media. I usually won’t go on Twitter or Instagram until 12 P.M.

I also set my Slack status as “Deep Work Mode” in the mornings. This prevents me from compulsively checking Slack and lets my clients know I’m not ignoring them – I’m just being conscious of my spending.

2) Earning Your Money Back Fast 💰

So, you’ve spent your $100 hours and wrote a ton. Nice! Sure, you could keep spending your money, but pushing through past your productive peak won’t get you very far.

In January 2021, I tried to stretch my dollars. I worked late into the night, around the clock, squeezing each dime out of my brain until I had nothing left. I burnt out. Plus, in some weird cosmic act of fate, I lost all three of my clients and plummeted from $5,000 to $0 a month — but that’s another story.

Instead of trying to stretch your dollars, focus on earning more money. Activities that don’t involve a screen tend to be the most lucrative.

  • Petting your dog. $6.

  • Grabbing dinner with a friend. $40.

  • A jog by the river while listening to your favorite podcast. $23.

Bonus: You’ll replenish your creative wallet faster if you don’t use it for a few days. This is why respecting your weekends and time off is so important.

I’m still figuring out how to get the most out of these hours. But realizing that we have a limited amount of $100 hours has helped me be much more intentional about how I’m allocating my attention.

Every day, you’re gifted $100 hours. Now, all you have to do is spend it on the right things. You read this article — how did it cost (or pay) you?

✍️ Quick Writing Tip

A good story is one that zigs and zags.

A great way to do this is to use the words “but” and “therefore” (they’re the connective tissue of a story) instead of “and.”

For example:

❌ “It was freezing in my living room. I grabbed a sweater and then realized it was my ex-boyfriend’s.”

✔️ “It was freezing in my living room, so I grabbed a sweater…but then realized it was my ex-boyfriend’s.”

A great tip from Mathew Dick’s Storyworthy! At this point, this section is just dedicated to this dude.

Thanks for reading and I hope you have a beautiful week, wherever you are. I’m a little late to publishing Internetly (client work is picking back up), so I appreciate your patience!

Stay Creative,

Alice 💌

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